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China's Stefan ZweigThe Dynamics of Cross-Cultural Reception$
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Arnhilt Johanna Hoefle

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824872083

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824872083.001.0001

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The Ideal Woman?

The Ideal Woman?

The “Zweig-Style Female Figures” in Post-Mao China

(p.94) Chapter 5 The Ideal Woman?
China's Stefan Zweig

Arnhilt Johanna Hoefle

University of Hawai'i Press

Zweig’s female protagonists have become famous in China as the “Zweig-style female figures” (Ciweige shi de nüxing xingxiang). Chapter Five asks what role the portrayal of femininity has played in Zweig’s poetics and their reception in post-Mao China. Employing a longstanding rhetoric that correlates the status of society and the status of women, Chinese critics argued that the depiction of suffering, emotional, and self-sacrificing female figures was the most powerful tool in Zweig’s critique of bourgeois society. Similar to female Chinese writers of the 1980s, such as Zhang Jie, feminist intellectuals thus started to return to a seemingly anachronistic concept of femininity. In this way, however, they were able to express their rejection of the Maoist gender policy and its promotion of gender sameness, thus also supporting a new regime that was eager to distance itself from its Maoist past. A discussion of how Zweig’s “women novellas” also crossed the Taiwan Strait and served the leadership under Deng Xiaoping in its new “peaceful” strategy to promote reunification concludes the chapter.

Keywords:   Feminist, Femininity, Taiwan, Maoist, Gender, Women, Zhang Jie, Post-Mao China

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